We always go to the same theater. It's one of the smaller ones still left in town. It doesn't have the fancy stadium seating, but it's clean, close to our house, and about $3 cheaper than all the mega-plexes in town. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that all the seats had been replaced with brand new ones. You know, the ones with the high backs that rock and the arm rests with cup-holders. (I know. It doesn't take much to make us happy.) Only problem was because we were on the very back row where the flooring was no longer on a downward slope, it was a little hard to see over the seats in front of us. Luckily there was only one man in that row so there were no heads to compete with. Well, there was only one man until the Jolly Green Giant and his long-legged brood entered the theater and sat right in front of us. Well, no matter how tall I sat, I couldn't see. So, never to back away from adversity, I went into the lobby and got all three of us kiddie booster seats.
My kids looked at me like I had gone completely insane. I said not a word, just handed them a booster, plopped mine in my seat and sat. Once they saw I was sitting about a foot higher, they too became booster believers.
So, there we sat, the three of us, enjoying the Prince of Persia, munching on pop corn, sipping on Diet Coke, and our feet dangling in the air. I do have to admit I felt a little like Edith Ann from Laugh-In. (For you young folk, Laugh-In was a comedy show from the late 60s to the early 70s. And yes, there was television back then.) I think we had as much fun laughing at ourselves than we did watching the movie.
Great life lesson. When the Jolly Green Giant sits in front of you at the movie, don't get mad, get a booster seat. Great lesson for running too. The next time life throws a curve ball at you concerning your running, don't get mad or discouraged, find that "booster" that will lift you up and over the adversity.
If you're injured and the doc says not to run for 3 months, have your pity party, but then figure out what you can do during that three months that will still help keep you fit. Maybe it's a different form of cross-training. Or maybe it's the perfect time to do some resistance training at the gym or finally set up that session with the personal trainer at the gym that you've been putting off.
If you just can't seem to increase your speed, step back and evaluate your training. Are you running the same-ole-same-ole? Do you have speedwork in your weekly training? Are you running too much? Not enough?
If you're always tired and never seem to have enough energy to do well on your runs, take some time to evaluate your stress level. Where's the stress coming from? Home? Work? Both? Or is it your diet? Eating too much? Not enough? Not enough of the right stuff? How about hydration? Hydrating before your runs? After?
How about that new runner in your running group that really irks you. What is it that's rubbing you the wrong way? Attention getter? Braggart? Complainer? TMI Offender? Or is it that he/she is just faster than you?
Whatever the situation, don't let the downside of the situation get the best of you. Use it as a time to grow as a runner (even if you're not able to run). If you're not sure what the solution is, ask your fellow running buddies, see a sports doc, a running coach, or go to the library or book store and find books to help you explore options.
It's funny when I look back at my own life obstacles and how things may have been different if I had chosen other paths for dealing with those situations. For example, in 2007 I had a stress fracture in my heel. I was told not to run for three months. At first I was depressed about it, but not for too long. I finally decided to join a gym and use the three months to work on increasing my overall strength, especially upper body and core. Finally after the three months, when I slowly began my return to running, I discovered I wasn't as far behind physically as I thought I'd be. I ended up PR-ing in the 5K, half-marathon and full-marathon later that same year. That experience also lead me to the gym which lead to an increase love of fitness, which eventually lead to becoming a certified personal trainer and running coach. Who knows what I'd be doing today, if I had chosen to let that stress fracture get the best of me.
So, next time you get hit with a curve ball, just picture me and my two teenage kids sitting in booster seats at the movies with our feet just-a-swayin and have a good-ole time.